The Trail Blazers’ memorable postseason run might be over, but the the 2019 NBA Draft is right around the corner. Portland’s President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey currently has the No. 25 pick in the draft at his disposal and he will look to supplement the Blazers’ roster with a talented prospect in the latter stages of the first round. Today we look at Washington Huskies guard Matisse Thybulle.
- Height: 6’5”
- Weight: 195
- Wingspan: 7-1”
- Shooting Hand: Right
- Position: Guard
- Age: 22
- Projected draft range: 21-30
- PTS: 9.1 | Per 40: 11.7
- REB: 3.1 | Per 40: 4.0
- AST: 2.1 | Per 40: 2.8
- FG%: 41.5%
- 3P%: 30.5%
- FT%: 85.1%
Matisse Thybulle’s trademark is his defense. As part of the University of Washington Huskies’ zone defense, Thybulle dominated that end of the court, naturally anticipating what the other team planned to do. He averaged 3.5 steals and 2.3 blocks over the course of the 2018-19 season, using his 7’1” wingspan to bother opponents. Disruptive against the pick-and-roll, he thrives in closing off passing lanes. On offense, Thybulle is a reliable free throw shooter, and he manages to keep his own turnovers low, averaging 1.8 on the season.
Thybulle’s offense is nothing to write home about, and his outside shooting is a potential weakness in a league that thrives on floor spacing. That said, Thybulle has a smooth release, a clean jumper, and he possesses enough intelligence and court vision to see when an extra pass needs to be made, or he needs to dive to the rim. On the defensive end, Thybulle does not perform as well in man-to-man coverage as he does in zone, and he sometimes struggled to pick up the switch when Washington played man-to-man.
Thybulle secured a number of accolades over the 2018-19 season. He was named the 2019 Naismith Defensive Player of the Year, and he received the 2019 Lefty Driesell Award, which honors the best defender in NCAA Division I. Thybulle was the 2019 NCAA season steals leader with 331 steals, passing Gary Payton, and lead the division in steals per game at 3.5. Additionally, he was named 2019 First-Team All Pac-12, 2019 Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, and 2019 Pac-12 All-Defensive Team.’
While Thybulle is an intriguing 3-and-D prospect, his 3-point shot would need to extend to NBA range, and he would need to develop consistency as quickly as possible. That said, if his largest weakness is that his three doesn’t fall at the clip needed, but he provides stellar coverage on defense, he would still be a good addition for any NBA team as a role player.
The biggest question mark is whether Thybulle’s defensive skillset will translate well to the NBA. While Thybulle possesses the strength and determination to get after opponents, defensive schemes vary widely around the league. He has the athleticism to finish strong inside, should he get to the rim.
Matisse Thybulle could buttress the Portland Trail Blazers’ defense, providing another pesky defender with length, ala Moe Harkless or Al-Farouq Aminu. His style of offense may not fit in well with Coach Terry Stotts’ schemes, given the reliance on outside shooting. If Thybulle manages to develop a reliable outside shot, he would be a strong addition to the offense, especially with his athletic ability to get through traffic. Thybulle needs development on offense, which is certainly something Portland can provide.
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